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Simulation as a sustainable trading zone: Aiming at intergenerational justice

Pronskikh, Vitaly (2020) Simulation as a sustainable trading zone: Aiming at intergenerational justice. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The paper, drawing on the example of simulation codes used in nuclear physics and high-energy physics, seeks to highlight the ethical implications of discontinuing support for simulation codes and the loss of knowledge embodied in them. Predicated on the concept of trading zones and actor network models, the paper addresses the problem of extinction of simulation codes and attempts to understand their evolution and development within those frameworks. We show that simulation codes of closed type develop to the level of creoles, becoming local languages and standards of scientific centers and disappearing as their few main developers leave, whereas codes of open types become universal languages, imposing problem-solving patterns on the entire community and crowding out other codes. The paper suggests that because of simulations’ reliance on tacit knowledge, practices entrenched in codes cannot be exhaustively explicated or transmitted through writing alone; on the contrary, the life cycle of a simulation code is determined by the life cycle of its trading zone. We examine the extent to which both of these phenomena pose a risk to the preservation of knowledge. Bearing upon intergenerational ethics, we draw analogies between the pure intergenerational problem (PIP) and the problem of preserving the knowledge implemented in simulation codes and transmitting it to future generations. We argue that for the complete transfer of knowledge, it is necessary to develop and maintain inhabitability and sustainability of simulation trading zones in a controllable way, at least until the demand for these codes is warranted to cease in the future.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Pronskikh, Vitalyvpronskikh@gmail.com0000-0002-5181-7497
Keywords: computer simulation, high-energy physics, nuclear physics, trading zones, distributive justice
Subjects: General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Physics
Depositing User: Dr Vitaly Pronskikh
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2020 05:18
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2020 05:18
Item ID: 18443
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1177/0037549720944504
Subjects: General Issues > Computer Simulation
General Issues > Ethical Issues
Specific Sciences > Physics
Date: June 2020
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18443

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